Our Product Pick
Zebra Technology Corporation (Lincolnshire, IL) has unboxed its new "budget friendly" direct-thermal/thermal-transfer label printer, the 4" ZT510. Measuring 10.6 in. (W) x 20.2 in. (D) x 15.6 in. (H), and weighing 50 lbs., the ZT510 has maximum print speed of 12 in./305 mm per second at 203 dpi. A successor to the Zebra 105SLPlus, it has all-metal design, rugged construction, and sealed dome buttons, with maximum media roll size of 8 in./203 mm outside diameter. As memory, it has 512-MB RAM and 2-GB Flash. As connectivity, it carries USB, Serial, Ethernet and Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0, with optional Parallel, 802.11a/c WLAN, USB Host, and IPv6. It also draws upon configuration, update, and remote management capabilities of Zebra Link-OS.
Zebra ZT510 Label Printer
ScanSource Completes PASS
A first look at plans to bridge the point-of-sale and payment processing worlds at ScanSource (Greenville, SC). As readers will recall, ScanSource acquired POS Portal (Sacramento, CA), premier distributor of payment processing hardware and related services, for approximately $150 million earlier this summer. With an estimated $110 million in annual sales and 180 employees, it functions under ScanSource Worldwide Barcode, Networking, and Security. Now ScanSource has unveiled its new PASS Program.
Under this structure, following solution sales in POS, ScanSource resellers refer customers to POS Portal. A "Payments Device Specialist" will then contact the customer directly to match their solution with certified configurations, offer hardware that is already configured and ready to use upon shipment, and arrange for service and support calls. For every device sold to an end-user, resellers will receive "a one-time commission," according to the two parties. In conversation with RRN.Com, POS Portal, having extensive encryption key capabilities and focus on the SMB, cited hundreds of such potential configurations.
"Payments hardware is not always easy--getting a customer set up often requires secure environments and strict protocols, but our PASS Program helps resellers find the right products and expertise to ensure a seamless process," declared Paul Constantine, Co-President of Worldwide Barcode, Networking, and Security for ScanSource, Inc. "We're happy to offer this new program to our resellers in order to supply the best possible payments assistance." Added Buzz Stryker, Co-Founder and CEO of POS Portal, "The program was designed to help free up resellers' time so that they can focus on their core business."
Paul Constantine, Co-President of Worldwide Barcode, Networking, and Security for ScanSource, and Buzz Stryker, CEO of POS Portal
"Get Smart," Sterling Tells ECRs
Another of the payment processors active in our channel--and who is not--Sterling Payment Technologies (Tampa, FL), has fielded its EMV SmartECR, in support of cash registers by SAM4s (Seoul, South Korea). As well as capacity for EMV for POS, SmartECR furnishes online sales reporting, price management, and wireless payments according to Sterling. In the U.S., SAM4s distributes by way of two longtime players in our channel, CRS, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN) and Ready POS (Beaverton, OR, and Buena Park, CA).
"We've learned that EMV payment solutions can be difficult to install, hard to support, and expensive for former merchants," related Jim Raftice, President of U.S. and Canada for EVO Payments (Atlanta, GA), parent company of Sterling Payment Technologies. As benefits, this new solution includes plug-and-play installation, transaction speeds as fast as 2.75 seconds, wireless capability, and "Business Bridge Intelligence." A longtime leader in our channel, Sterling Payment Technologies was acquired by EVO Payments in January 2017, in lock-step with continuous consolidation of payments (and POS).
"Cash registers are still the most viable POS option for hundreds of thousands of merchants, and transaction speed is critical to the customer experience," continued Raftice. "The faster the transaction, the greater the chance for revenue generation at busy merchant locations. SmartECR is truly one of the most affordable, dependable, and fastest payment terminals on the market." A third party, UIC (Fremont, CA), supplies hardware for SmartECR.
Set-Up for SmartECR by Sterling Payment Technologies
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Profit Booster Dealer Conference
RFID in Retail and Apparel
NRF's Big Show
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Citizen Squares Up (With CT-E351)
Citizen Systems America (Torrance, CA) has unwrapped its newest 3" direct-thermal receipt printer, the CT-E351. In dimensions of 4.9 in. (W) x 6.7 in. (D) x 4.3 in. (H), and weighing 2.8 lbs., the CT-E351 seeks to fulfill end-user desire for sleek, compact, contemporary styling. In concert, it features front exit and maximum print speed of 9.8 in./250 mm at 203 dpi. According to the company, it complements the previous CT-S310II.
Additionally, the CT-E351 features drop-in paper loading, roll size of 3.3 in./83 mm outside diameter, and paper-end media sensor. As expected, there's guillotine cutter, support for Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux, with choice of USB 2.0+LAN or USB 2.0+Serial. In keeping with today's vertical needs, it comes in black or white. A three-year warranty covers head and cutter, with Energy Star Certification.
"After receiving such positive feedback on our visually appealing 2" CT-S251, we are pleased to continue the aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-use family offering with the 3" entry-level model," shared Glenn Williams, VP of Corporate Strategy and Alliances at Citizen Systems America. "The CT-E351 is not only value-priced and footprint friendly, but, most notably, it does not compromise on performance, which gives businesses a cost-effective, quality solution no matter what the application." Also, Citizen Systems America has renewed its focus on ISVs. Details will be forthcoming in RRN.Com.
Citizen Debuts 3" CT-E351 Thermal Receipt Printer
Casio Aloft the Cloud
Casio America (Dover, NJ) has launched new cloud-based software, designated CasioCPos, for its V-R7000/7100 Android All-in-One POS. Debuted in 2014, the V-R7000/7100 features fanless design, 15" touch display (1366x768), and Li-Ion battery. It's powered by OMAP 5432 CPU at 1.5 GHz, 2-GB RAM, and 16-GB Flash. An extensive set of ports includes Serial x 3, USB x 4, LAN x 1, HDMI x 1, Cash Drawer x 2, SD Card Slot x 2, and COM x 3 (with optional expansion box offered). The V-R7100 has two additional hardware features: 802.11a/b/g/n WLAN and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR.
Intended for single and multi-store sites in hospitality and general retail, CasioCPos furnishes dashboard showing metrics such as sales, number of customers, and gross profits, as well as historical comparisons and projections. It may be organized by item, department, or period of time. Multi-store users will have access to multiple dashboards, color-coded for store, region, and corporate levels, with associated security clearance. Access is offered through the V-R7000/7100, remote PC, or smartphone.
A diagnostic page with communication log, electronic journal, and terminal status indicator is also included in CasioCPos. A programming section allows changes to categories such as items, departments, groups, operators, employees, tax, and keyboard layout. Such changes can be automatically updated upon the store's opening or sent directly from the cloud. Casio's QSR App, an extra to the V-R7000/7100, syncs to CasioCPos.
Casio V-R7000/7100 Gets Cloud Solution
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Of Star (Blue) and Space (Pole)
A major step for SpacePole (Norcross, GA), supplier of modular enclosures, mounts, and poles, with new distribution in North America by BlueStar (Hebron, KY). It follows success with BlueStar Europe. An arm of Ergonomic Solutions, which is based in the U.K. and manufactures its hardware in Denmark, SpacePole has fulfilled over five million installations, and in retail, supplies 60% of the Global Top 50. It most recently presented its universal aluminum tablet enclosure, "A-Frame."
Identifying North America as one of his key growth areas, Ian Dewar, SpacePole CEO and President, commented, "In BlueStar, we have the ideal distribution partner to develop those opportunities across the United States and Canada. Our range of technology mounting and mobility solutions complements and enables BlueStar's enviable range of fixed and mobile point-of-sale hardware in both retail and hospitality." A "Space Program" at SpacePole addresses VARs.
"Expansion of our partnership with SpacePole is very exciting for BlueStar, as it enables us to better serve our customers through their technology and services," contributed Steve Cuntz, President of BlueStar. "SpacePole's product portfolio spans many verticals including mPOS, payments, digital signage, and logistics, giving BlueStar the ability to provide our partners with the solutions they require." (FYI: An "In-a-Box" Solutions Series delivers hardware, software, and critical accessories in one bundle for specific verticals at BlueStar.)
Steve Cuntz, President of BlueStar, and Ian Dewar, CEO and President of SpacePole, Celebrate North American Distribution
Givex Grows Gainfully
An example of consolidation up north, with Givex (Toronto) snapping up POS Canada (Mississauga, ON). Serving both retail and hospitality, with over two decades as VAR, POS Canada will now add Vexilor POS by Givex. Introduced in 2014, Vexilor moved Givex beyond its roots in gift and loyalty (which deepened with its buy of Chase Paymentech's such efforts in 2015). It has conducted 16 billion transactions worldwide.
"A fully customizable solution designed to streamline all aspects of business operation," Givex CEO Don Gray describes Vexilor. It addition to POS, it includes kitchen display systems, resource management, inventory control, and tableside ordering (dubbed Givex "Tiqer"). As added benefit, it offers more than 250 standard reports available in real-time from its cloud-based portal. Of course, it integrates to Givex Gift Card.
"This is a win-win for both Givex and POS Canada," remarked Bruce Henderson, President of POS Canada. "By combining Vexilor's fully customizable, integrated point-of-sale system with POS Canada's far-reaching sales and support arm, we will be able to rapidly meet the growing merchant demand for a truly all-inclusive POS solution." Terms of the purchase of POS Canada by Givex were not announced.
Givex Acquires POS Canada, Sees Growth for Vexilor
Posera (London, ON, Canada and Seattle, WA) has positioned its Color Video Monitor, formerly featured exclusively in its Maitre'D POS Software, as an independent Kitchen Display System (KDS). Its fully customizable display screen simplifies order preparation and decreases the average prep time through the use of visual portrayals and color, stressed the ISV. Also, it delivers bumping by item or by order via touchscreen and display of 6 to 20 orders on screen. Other significant benefits include active storage of up to 100 orders, remote access for support, alerts by e-mail, and recipe display. "Our KDS system delivers significant operational and cost efficiencies, including eliminating printers and paper-based kitchen orders, for direct savings to our customers' bottom line," relayed Jean Guimond, VP of Sales for Posera, adding "We can now interface with virtually any POS system." A longtime player in our channel, Posera.
Posera Kitchen Display System
Shiny Chrome at Bixolon
Bixolon America (Torrance, CA) has offered its new software development kit (SDK) for thermal receipt printing with the Google Chrome O/S. It brings lower development costs, faster time to market, simpler integration of printer functions, and future path of migration, according to the vendor. Initially, it supports Bixolon's 3" SRP-Q300 cube printer, 3" SRP-350PlusIII mobile printer, and 3" SRP-275III impact printer. More will follow in Q4.
"Progressive retailers are adopting Google Web POS applications to engage mobile shoppers through targeting and personalization while leveraging the gold mine of shopper analytics," expounded John Kim, Director of Marketing at Bixolon. "Chrome tablet and kiosk are gaining popularity for their speed, flexibility, and efficiency for IT. Our new Chrome SDK delivers programmers a simple way to develop fast, low-overhead mPOS printing functions with Google Chrome."
Bixolon's New Google Chrome SDK Supports the Company's Receipt Printers, Including the 3" Cube SRP-Q300
[Editor's Note: Bixolon also has released its Xamarin SDK, using Microsoft's C#, as well as its Apache Cordova SDK.]
A Capital Idea at iPayment
Ambitious payment processor iPayment, Inc. (Westlake Village, CA) has rolled out its new merchant cash advance service, entitled iPayment Capital. As a direct offering, it will significantly streamline financing for customers, according to the firm, with simplified application, expedited reviews and approvals, and seamless re-payment process. As SVP of this effort, iPayment has hired Tomo Matsuo, former COO of fintech leader, Bizfi.
"Our customers oftentimes have challenges accessing working capital to fuel growth for their business," emphasized O.B. Rawls IV, CEO and President at iPayment. "We must provide our customers with valuable products that will help them sustain and grow their business, and iPayment Capital is just one such offering." It will launch this fall, with initial focus on the 137,000 SMBs served by iPayment.
"According to Goldman Sachs, the total U.S. small business financing market is estimated to be $186 billion, with originations less than $100,000 representing about 90% of the total," noted Robert Purcell, CFO at iPayment. "Investing in iPayment Capital makes perfect business sense, not just in terms of the overall market opportunity, but also because our core offering is providing business solutions for SMBs. In lieu of working with an outside partner, as we've done in the past, we will control the entire experience for our customers."
Tomo Matsuo, SVP, iPayment Capital
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Mr. Chicken Meets the MarketMan
An integration between Square (San Francisco, CA) and MarketMan (New York, NY) has been deployed for restaurant chain, Mr. Chicken. With eight locations in and near Cleveland, OH, Mr. Chicken was already using Square POS and food supply from U.S. Foods. Addition of MarketMan enhanced its tracking of inventory, cost controls, and reconciliation of invoices. "It has saved us thousands of dollars, and will help us grow at steadier pace," reported William Horton, GM of Mr. Chicken.
"We've worked with thousands of restaurants and hospitality brands around the world, and we've grown quickly by partnering with the most advanced technology vendors and suppliers in the industry," indicated Noam Wolf, CEO of MarketMan. In addition to Square, MarketMan ties to Clover, Heartland Commerce/Dinerware, Lavu, Lightspeed, NCR/Aloha, Oracle Retail, POSitouch, Revel, Squirrel, and Xero. A cloud-based system, it was developed in Israel, where it's utilized by more than 30% of leading restaurant chains and food vendors, from Coca-Cola to Unilever. It was recently introduced to the market in the U.S.
"We're constantly looking for ways to integrate our system with others to help increase sales," volunteered Pankaj Bengani, Partnerships Lead at Square. "Our integration with MarketMan helps restaurants understand profitability and emphasizes the strength of Square." By way of reference, Square charges 2.75% per swipe, dip, or tap, and 3.5% + 15 cents per keyed-in transaction. Its gross payment volume was $12.5 billion, up 42% year-over-year, for Q2. Big numbers.
Mr. Chicken Adds MarketMan Inventory to Square POS
Paytronix Smiles Upon C-Stores
One of the more successful developers of reward programs, Paytronix (Newton, MA), has established links to three additional systems for POS--Gilbarco, NCR/Radiant, and Verifone Commander--addressing C-Store. They join 30 other integrations with POS for Paytronix. An install with the chain Yesway, prosaically tagged "Yesway Rewards," with its currency called "Smiles," has been recently completed with Gilbarco and NCR/Radiant. Based in Des Moines, IA, Yesway has plans to "acquire, improve, and rebrand" 600 sites in selected regions of the U.S. It chose Paytronix after evaluation of the field.
"One of our core requirements for Yesway Rewards was robust analytics and segmentation," recounted Darrin Samaha, VP and Brand Manager at Yesway. "Now that we are underway with our program, without question, the Paytronix platform provides us with out-of-the-box marketing tools we need. We are able to leverage the platform and the Paytronix Data Insights team to better understand our customers and know when and where to help them."
"POS integration is the lifeblood of the Paytronix platform," confirmed Michelle Tempesta, Head of Marketing at Paytronix. "It connects the data being collected in the field to our powerful back-end system where marketers employ a 1-to-1 marketing strategy. Our ability to pull data from and push it to the POS changes the customer experience by making it more relevant and personal in the store." Paytronix now serves approximately 300 restaurant and retail firms.
Yesway C-Store Chain Embraces Paytronix Rewards
When it comes to customer service, retailers will increasingly look to schemes such as Live Chat, Facebook Messenger, and Amazon Alexa, according to "How AI Technology Will Transform Customer Engagement," sponsored by Linc. As found in this survey, 55% of retailers report that their customer service costs are rising due to demands in human resources, shipping, and logistics. While only 8% of retailers have currently deployed AI, 34% have started experimenting with customer-facing AI. Overall, 87% expect to increase their use of AI. Following Amazon's record sales of Echo devices during Prime Day 2017, one in five retailers believe voice will become an important channel within 24 months. And retailer adoption of AI will extend beyond routine customer service requests (which was cited by 68%). Another 52% will use AI to help track packages, 44% will use AI for product suggestions, and 42% want AI to handle returns and exchanges in the next 24 months. AI will also be used to answer pre-purchase questions (39%) and for marketing (38%). "A clear indicator that the time is now for retailers to take action," observed Luke Starbuck, VP of Marketing at Linc.
87% of Retailers to Increase Use of AI in Customer Engagement During the Next 24 Months
RSPA Takes Pulse
At its recent RetailNOW Show in Las Vegas, NV, the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) welcomed its new Chairman of the Board for 2017-2018: Mark Fraker, VP of Marketing for BlueStar. He takes over for 2016-2017 Chairman Tom Reichart, VP of Business Development for Vantiv Integrated Payments, with Hunter Allen, CEO of Cervion Systems, named 2018-2019 Incoming Chair. A pair of newly-elected Board Members includes Rick Malthaner, Director of Business Development for Como (as Vendor) and Jeremy Julian, COO of Custom Business Solutions (as Reseller).
In Las Vegas, RSPA also announced the winners of its 2017 Vendor of Excellence Awards (as voted by members). Here's winners of Gold, Silver, and Bronze for each category. Electronic Payments: Vantiv Integrated Payments, Datacap Systems, Sterling Payment Technologies. Hardware: Touch Dynamic, Epson America, APG Cash Drawer. Software: Future POS, National Computer Corporation, MobileBytes. Software & Hardware: CRS, Inc., POSBANK USA, Datasym. Distributor: BlueStar, M-S Cash Drawer, Metropolitan Sales. (A surprise or two?)
No word yet on hiring of new Executive Director for the RSPA, following the departure of Kelly Funk in May 2017. A five-member search committee has been formed (for necessary qualifications, see www.gorspa.org/ExeDirsummary). It hopes to fill the position "by the end of Q3," according to Tom Reichart. An interesting time for the RSPA, which is based in Charlotte, NC, given sea changes in retail IT.
Mark Fraker, Chairman of the Board, Addresses the Retail Solutions Providers Association in Las Vegas
Niceties for Nuti
Bill Nuti, Chairman and CEO of NCR Corporation (Duluth, GA), has been selected as one of Atlanta Business Chronicle's Most Admired CEOs for 2017. As one of the major companies in the area, NCR has approximately 3,000 employees in Metro Atlanta (overall, 30,000). In 2015, he announced that NCR will build its new, global headquarters campus in Midtown Atlanta, with the first phase to open in early 2018.
In addition, Bill has focused the NCR Foundation to strengthen the communities in which NCR operates by making grants to nonprofit partners in the spheres of health-related support programs, issues in disability, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2016, the NCR Foundation made grants exceeding $1.1 million. Recipients include Children's Hospital of Atlanta, Junior Achievement, Women in Technology, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
"Bill transformed NCR into the software-focused, omnichannel solutions leader we are today," exclaimed Andrea Ledford, EVP of the Chief Administration Office and Chief Human Resources Officer. "This recognition from Atlanta Business Chronicle further validates Bill's leadership of NCR." He was also chosen as Most Admired CEO Honoree in 2015.
Bill Nuti, Chairman and CEO, NCR
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